Sir Bob was installed as Leeds Metropolitan University’s new Chancellor during an official ceremony in the university’s Great Hall on Monday 28th January.
The formal occasion began with 100 representatives from across the university leading a procession, followed by a showcase of student work, including music and dance performances.
Vice Chancellor Professor Susan Price welcomed guests while Jenny Share, Secretary and Registrar, gave a citation detailing Sir Bob’s achievements to date. Following his installation, the Lord Mayor of Leeds offered Sir Bob a civic welcome.
The university announced Bob was to be their new figurehead in October last year. As an alumnus of Leeds Met, his links with the university date back to 1969 when he moved to Yorkshire to study accountancy part-time at the university’s predecessor institution, Leeds Polytechnic. Some years later, in 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration by Leeds Metropolitan for his contribution to business and sport.
Speaking during the Inauguration ceremony Sir Bob said: “I’m both astonished and thrilled to be here today. I feel very privileged to be invited to be Chancellor of this esteemed institution and I would like to thank the University for granting me this unique position.
“I’ve strived to achieve many goals in my life, but I would never have dreamt that being Chancellor of a major University, with 30,000 students and staff, would become one of them!”
Talking about his own education he said: “If you had read my school reports, I am not sure I would be standing here today! The fact is I failed at School. In part due to a childhood setback, but also a modest work ethic! I believe my personal story to be apt though, as it demonstrates the power of education.
“I was born just after the war in the baby boom of 1946. When I left school in 1961 there were twice as many school leavers seeking employment as there were jobs. As there was no prospect of me joining the local steelworks where my dad worked, I was unemployed for a year. That experience was the hardest but also the most important of my life. It had a profound effect and changed my life.”
“It gave me a lifelong driving ambition to succeed and I finally woke up and understood the importance of education.” “I am especially thrilled to be taking on this role in Leeds. I came to Yorkshire in 1969 for 2 years to advance my career. That was 44 years ago! Yorkshire is now my adopted home and I have spent my entire business career here.
Reflecting on his business career he added, “Throughout my career I’ve always been passionate about building things. I’m inspired by creating businesses, developing major projects and forming relationships. I never do things alone, always choosing to work in partnership with great people. I believe in approaching everything I do with sincerity and integrity.”
“I hope my experience in business and lifelong focus on education will give me the necessary qualities to support the university, its outstanding staff and the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals to achieve their ambitions and aspirations.”
Leeds Metropolitan University
• Leeds Metropolitan University has over 27,000 students and around 2,800 staff.
• The Vice Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University is Professor Susan Price and the Chair of the Board is Lord Woolmer of Leeds.
• Leeds Metropolitan’s four faculties are: Arts, Environment and Technology, Business & Law, Health and Social Sciences, and Carnegie.
• Leeds Metropolitan’s heritage can be traced back to the founding of the Mechanics Institute in Leeds in 1824.
• The Destination of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE) showed that the proportion of Leeds Metropolitan 2010/11 graduates in work, further study or both six months after leaving university was 91.87%.
• Libraries and Learning Innovation at Leeds Metropolitan was awarded the CSE standard for the tenth year running in 2012.
• In 2012, Leeds Metropolitan was awarded a ‘First’ in the People & Planet Green League, a league table of environmentally friendly universities, for the sixth consecutive year.